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5 die in Assam Rajdhani blast
Adivasi outfit may be responsible
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, December 13
Five persons were killed and four others seriously injured when a bomb explosion rocked 2423 Down Dibrugarh-Guwahati-New Delhi Rajdhani Express between Naojan and Chungajan Railway stations of Assamís Golaghat district, about 282 km from here, at around 1:10 am on Thursday.

The impact of the explosion left a crater of 1.8 m diameter and 82 cm depth on the track, besides causing damage to two rails of the track. Golaghat district SP Prodip Saloi suspected hand of All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA) in the explosion that rocked the elite train. He said an expert team was investigating into the blast.

The AANLA, an Adivasi militant group, was floated in 2005. The Assam police alleged that AANLA enjoyed patronage of bigger rebel groups, including the Naga rebel group NSCN-IM and the banned ULFA.

The outfit is very active in bordering areas of Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts
of Assam.

The north-east Frontier Railway chief public relations officer, Trikalagya Rabha informed that the deceased were identified as Satyaprakash Rai (45), Sudama Rai (45), Lakshman Rai (44), A.K. Sah (20) and D. Prasad (19).

The four seriously inured persons were identified as Lakshman Sah, Tapas Roy, Amarendra Singh and B. Chowdhury. They have been sent to Dimapur Civil Hospital in Nagaland. The toll may go up as injured were stated to be in critical condition.

All these passengers were travelling in the luggage van of the Rajdhani Express from Dibrugarh to Guwahati, the NFR official said.

The Railway claims that luggage van in the train is partially utilised to accommodate passengers travelling between Dibrugarh to Guwahati.

Initially, the explosion was suspected to have occurred inside the luggage van of the train. But later it was ascertained to have occurred on the track.

The loco driver didnít stop the train immediately after the blast that occurred in a forest area.

The train stopped at the next station at Chungajan, about five km from the blast site, which later resumed its onward journey to Guwahati at 6:45 am.

Other passengers travelling in the affected luggage van were shifted to a
3-tier AC bogie.

The train later reached Guwahati around 11 am before it proceeds to the final destination, New Delhi. Top railway and security officials had rushed to the site immediately after the blast. The Railway technical staff have already repaired the track at the blast site.

An investigation has been launched into the blast that has affected the high security train. There has been a practice to scan the track in insurgency hit areas of the state before the Rajdhani Express is allowed to pass through.

The 2423 Down Rajdhani Express leaves Dibrugarh in eastern Assam with five coaches, including a non-AC luggage van at 8:15 pm, and reaches Guwahati at 5:55 am next morning.

It leaves Guwahati for New Delhi at 7 am in the morning. The train was running four hours late on Thursday because of the blast.

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